Sipley School Weekly Howl

Week of Monday, December 15, 2014

"Expectations about the likelihood of eventual success determines the amount of effort people are willing to put in. Those who are convinced they can be successful in carrying out the actions required for a successful outcome - who have the 'self-efficacy' - are likely to try harder and persist longer when they face obstacles."

By Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Growth Mindsets

The opening quote supports a growth mindset. It focuses on the importance of building confidence in students. Think about what we say and how we say what we say to children. Does what we say and how we say it work towards building confidence?

Try a 2-1-1 way of giving feedback (based on Tom Schimmer's work):

2 Areas of STRENGTH give to students

1 aspect that needs to IMPROVE

1 STRETCH - an area that I want you to try

Time to Check In

Classroom teachers were excited to focus their attention on teaching kids, not content. Are you making learning and behavioral expectations visible to students? Do they know what they need to know to be successful in your class? Are you giving students a test when they have shown an overall readiness level that suggests to you that a majority of your class is ready to take a test? This counters giving a test on a given date - here you are using data to inform you of their readiness. If this occurs, you should not see many students fail. When students do fail, are you pausing to reteach specific skills to specific groups of students while others do meaningful work? How is this going?

Attention placed on teaching kids, not content = F.O.C.U.S.

Common Core State Standards, Appendix B

If you are not familiar with Appendix B, please become familiar with it over Winter Break as you plan engaging lessons.

Appendix B has suggested readings related to Reading Literature and Reading Informational texts. What may be of value to you is the "Sample Performance Tasks for Stories and Poetry" and "Sample Performance Tasks for Informational Texts." For example, "Students (with prompting and support from the teacher) compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of the owl in Arnold Lobel's Owl at Home to those of the owl in Edward Lear's poem 'The Owl and the Pussycat.'" [RL.K.9]

Or, "Students compare and contrast coming-of-age stories by Christopher Paul Curtis (Bud, Not Buddy) and Louise Edrich (The Birchbark House) by identifying similar themes and examining stories' approach to the topic of growing up." [RL.5.9]

Why is this important? I hear concern that the questions and tasks asked of our students on the PARCC Sample Test do not match the level of questioning asked in our basals. This requires us to write and ask higher level questions than what a basal offers us. Appendix B provides you with titles that align to the text complexity students will see on PARCC. Appendix B also offers teachers tasks paired with text, that can be used in the classroom. This could help close that gap and alleviate the concern shared. Because Appendix B went as far as suggesting title and tasks, there is a lot of district, school, and teacher created material already out there, but you have to be a good consumer as you search those materials.

In the conference that I attended on Monday, they shared that a majority of the questions asked on PARCC will be of higher level, closer to Webb's Depth of Knowledge areas 2, 3, and 4, which require strategic thinking, use of skills and concepts, and extended thinking. Few questions will be asked that require students to recall information. Thus our questions and tasks that we assign students must be at all four levels, but predominantly levels 2 - 4. See Webb's DOK -

Lexile Levels

The Lexile levels changed when the Common Core State Standards were introduced. This is what teachers are now seeing with the release of the PARCC Practice Tests, referred to above. Page 8 of this document shows the Lexile comparisons (Or open the picture to the right) -

Please check to see what Lexile level you are using with your students. Here are two sources:

  1. - Enter your title in the top right of the screen.

A Glance at the Week Ahead

Monday - Rising Star Meeting - 11:20

Monday - Certified Staff Meeting 3:00 - 4:00 - This is for individual reflection. It is aimed at taking what you learned on Friday and synthesizing it. Enjoy the time.

Monday - Board Meeting - Our Student Council will lead the Board in the Pledge.

Tuesday - No Cook Night at Go Roma.

Tuesday - I have a Principal/Teaching and Learning Meeting in the afternoon. I will be out of the building.

Wednesday - STP Meeting at 6:45

Friday - Holiday Staff Breakfast

Friday - Holiday Classroom Parties

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